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Two Vandalia women planning back-to-school event

Posted on Sunday, August 13, 2023 at 6:04 pm

Vandalia City Clerk Brandie Gay said Tricia Lower presented her with an idea about creating a yard sale to help families with school-age children get the supplies they need.
“I thought there were a lot of kids who could maybe use things that other families weren’t using,” Lower said. “There’s probably a lot of kids in our community that don’t get to go back-to-school shopping like some kids.” Doing something like this would help them get some new things to start the school year, such as clothes, shoes, sports equipment, musical instruments, anything thing that they could use at school. Even though both women work for the city, it is not a city-sponsored event.
The school has a Bright Futures Committee that has supplies for any family with school children in need.
Bright Futures USA is a non-profit organization that helps schools connect student needs with resources that already exist in their community. It provides the framework to bring together human service agencies with faith-based organizations as well as parent groups to partner with schools in a way that helps them quickly meet students’ basic needs. This allows the students and teachers to focus on their success within the school system.
“If the (students) needs something that we don’t have in (that Bright Futures closet), then we all band together and make sure that they get the resources that they need,” she said. “No matter what it is.”
She said they have commitments from six people so far for the garage sale.
All she is asking for is a $10 donation for participants to set up for the garage sale. They plan on holding it in the parking area in front of the historic church on Main Street. If they get more than the lot can handle, they plan on expanding into the grassy area adjacent to the church.
The event will take place Saturday, Aug. 12, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Railroad Park.
The money generated from the people participating in the garage sale is donated back to Bright Futures, so it can continue to buy more supplies for students.
While working on this idea, Gay and Lower decided they should expand on it.
They decided to team up with the Second Baptist Church.
The church is planning on giving out backpacks filled with school supplies.
“They do that every year,” she said, “but decided to team up with us this year to see how that goes.”
They will also provide free haircuts during the event.
“Our local barber, Harold Williams, and his granddaughter, Audrey, are going to (cut hair) at his shop,” she said.
Sara Bybee and Megan Roth will also be cutting hair at the little historical church. There’s a possibility a few more hairdressers will be there, too.
The Audrain County Health Department has donated toothbrushes and toothpaste for the event.
Ramsey Dickerson, from State Farm, will be giving away gift cards that can be used at local businesses to purchase school supplies. Some Van-Far Parents as Teachers people will be there with a booth, as well.
CMCA will also be on hand to hand out free diapers and baby wipes.
Gay and Lower are also in contact with the Eastern Family YMCA, as well as the Vandalia Fire Department and the Audrain County Sheriff’s Department.
“I figured we would have the resource officers there for the kids to meet,” she said. “Because they’re going to be at the school all the time. So, I’m waiting to hear back from them.”
If anyone else is interested in setting up for the garage sale, Gay said, there is still plenty of room, but individuals would have to provide their own tables and chairs.
The Van-Far Athletic Department is planning on selling old jerseys during the event, they added.
Audrain County is having its Back to School on Saturday, Aug. 5, in Mexico at the Mexico United Methodist Church.
Gay said they thought it would be a good thing for Vandalia to have its own event for those who don’t want to travel to Mexico.
ACHD is also holding a vaccine clinic on Thursday, Aug. 5, from 4 – 7 p.m. at 1130 S. Elmwood Drive, Mexico.